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One of the American Woodcock’s more colorful folk names is “timberdoodle,” probably for the bird’s forest-edge haunts, erratic, zigzag flight, and twittering call notes. These plump little birds are technically shorebirds, though they’re found far from any beach. Like the Spruce Grouse, they are beautifully camouflaged to match the forest floor, in varying tones and patterns of brown, black, buff, and gray.
American Woodcocks share their second-growth habitat with the Golden-winged Warbler and benefit from conservation measures designed for that bird. Rarely seen, the woodcock spends most of its time hidden in fields and forests, where it probes for earthworms with a flexible-tipped bill that can reach worms more than two inches underground. Its large eyes are positioned high and near the back of the skull, an adaptation that enables the bird to keep watch for danger while probing for food.
Since American Woodcocks are nocturnal migrants, they are a frequent victim of collisions with communications towers, glass windows, and other man-made structures. (ABC BirdTape can help prevent this!)…